Hargus "Pig" Robbins

Hargus Melvin Robbins was born January 18th, 1938 in Spring City, TN. For over three decades, Hargus "Pig" Robbins remained one of the top session keyboardists in Nashville, and played with some of country music's most illustrious stars. When Hargus was 2 and a half years old he accidentally put out his eye while playing with his father's knife. Although the eye was eventually removed it had already affected his other eye and he went totally blind by age four. He began learning classical piano at age seven while attending the Tennessee School for the Blind in Nashville, and was influenced by the music of Tex Ritter, his idol. It was at this school he got the nickname "Pig". Robbins learned country music by listening to records and the radio, and after leaving the school, he began playing in various Nashville clubs. After playing on a friend's demo, he joined the Musician's Union and became a session man, and in 1959, he played on George Jones' "White Lightning." In 1963, Robbins recorded a solo album, A Bit of Country Piano. He also played on non-country albums; a 1966 appearance on Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde left him in great demand with pop, folk and country artists. In 1969 he released "One More Time" on the Chart label. By this time he was already the preferred piano player on most of the Chart sessions. In the 70's he appeared on many, many albums both in country and rock. In 1976, 77, 79-82, and 1984 he was voted the Academy of Country Music's Keyboardist of the year. Also in 1976 he was voted Musician of the Year. In 1977 he received a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for his first Elektra LP "Country Instrumentalist of the Year". In 1978, Robbins released "Pig in a Poke", his second album for Elektra. He closed out the 70's with his 3rd and final Elektra LP, "Unbreakable Hearts". Even though younger keyboardists appeared continually in Nashville, Robbins remained the first choice of many artists, and played with Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Kenny Rogers, Tanya Tucker, Ronnie Milsap, Tom T. Hall, Alan Jackson, Mark Chesnutt, George Jones and Travis Tritt.

Portions - Sandra Brennan All Music Guide